Why Virtual Assistants Are Important to Your Productivity

June 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Authors

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If you’re like most of us, you never have enough time to do all of the tasks that are required of an author and entrepreneur. My friend in San Diego says “Entrepreneurs are lucky, they only have to work half the time and it’s their choice which half of the day they work.”

I truly believe the advent of virtual assistants is one of the greatest resources created in the past ten years. We don’t have to do every task ourselves and in fact, if we can hire it out for under $200 an hour, we should not do the task. Especially when we take the time to do marketing, sales or relationship building tasks instead of doing the outsourced task.

Some of the tasks I have learned to hire out include bookkeeping, cleaning up email, typing, social media, approach calls, book marketing tasks, graphic design. membership site marketing, database building, speaking engagement queries, transferring audio files to text, video clips, video editing, joint venture and affiliate approaches, website maintenance and even writing. There is no limit to what you can job out and if you focus your time on revenue generating activity your business will grow exponentially.

You’ll want to write out a detailed description of what you want the VA to accomplish. How much time will it take? What skills do they need to have? How much experience do they need? How many hours a week do you need them to work? How is it best for you to work with the VA, by phone, email or Skype? Be sure to ask for references and be sure to call each of at least three of the references. Check their website to verify their professionalism and set up a couple of hurdles to see what their response time is such as returning your email or phone call.

Selecting a virtual assistant is trickier than deciding what to hire out. What I have found is to create a spreadsheet of all the tasks I somehow never get around to doing. I record every speaking engagement I do and have those transferred to text files to see what new material I might be able to use for a book, blog post or even an inspiration for a new project. The VA I use for that task is different from the one I use to create social media activity. It seems each VA has specific tasks they are good at doing and I receive much better results by using one who excels and has a great deal of experience in the task at hand.

Start out with a ten hour agreement and be sure every detail is in writing. Define exactly what is confidential and be sure they sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your intellectual property. Most VAs expect to be paid in advance, so you don’t want to commit to too many hours until you’re comfortable with your working relationship. Be sure your agreement spells out they are independent contractors and are fully responsible for taxes.

I have used as many as three or four VAs at time depending on what projects I’m working on. I use several websites such as elance and freelance as a resource to find new VAs. There are thousands of resources which offer lists. The average is between $7 and $15 an hour. One site which has been a great resource is fiverr. For five dollars, you can find someone to do almost any task you might need.

It is a great feeling to know I have work being accomplished where ever I am and whatever I am doing. I especially appreciate getting the tasks complete when I know they are tasks I tend to avoid.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant

June 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Authors, Independent Publishing, Virtual Assistant

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Have you ever ended a week with more time than things to do? Not me! How I wish I was that capable. And the more successful I am, the less time I have to do all the extra tasks! So, what do we do? Of course, hire a virtual assistant.

There are many ways to do so, one being through elance, which we talked about last month, by searching for VA’s through Google or by personal referrals from those who have had success. There are many different types of VA’s and you’ll want to be very specific on the type of tasks that you want them to do. The more detail you put into the description of the tasks, the easier it will be for you to ensure you get what you want to accomplish.

The major benefit is that a VA is much less expensive that a local assistant. They can accomplish tasks while you are sleeping, traveling or off doing what you get paid the big bucks for.

The type of tasks they will do is anything and everything any assistant can accomplish, but from outside your office. They can be trained to weed through your emails, answer them, answer various correspondence, update your website, create effective SEO and SEM techniques as well as billing and typical billing processes.

If you can write it out as a specific task, they will be able to accomplish it for you. The most important component in working with a VA is great communications and specific details.

Then put your new found free time to good use and start speaking and promoting your book.